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I had my first Bartholin Cyst at 26. I was unaware what it was at the time, but knew something was wrong. I was lucky, and the cyst went away on its own after a few days. This continued for years, but the cyst did not grow, and always went away after a few day, so I thought nothing of it.
Flash forward to 29, and I experienced my first abscess. It was absolutely horrible. Through some research, I was able to figure out it was a Bartholin Cyst, and started doing some of the homemade remedies suggested online. Nothing helped, and I was constantly sitting in the bathtub for any relief. It became clear (since I could not walk, sit, or go to the bathroom without it hurting) that the cyst was infected, and this time it would not go away on its own. I reluctantly went to the doctor.
I was very lucky to have a thorough and compassionate female ER doctor. I was petrified if I went to the hospital they would insist that I be lanced, and from everything I had read, that did not seem like the option for me. I did not seem to find any real success stories from surgery; I really wanted to at least try to have my body heal itself. The doctor prescribed me antibiotics and pain medication (if your cyst is incredibly painful, and you cannot walk, sit, pee, etc without pain, definitely go to the doctor, as it is definitely infected) but agreed to my wishes of not lancing.
The pain was far less after taking the antibiotics (no doubt the pain medication helped), and the cyst even shrunk, but it did not go away completely. Placing a hot, damp cloth, with some Tea Tree Oil, and Witch Hazel, helped the cyst drain more, and shrink even more, but again, it did not fully go away. Regardless, I was somewhat satisfied, because at least I no longer had a golf ball rubbing between my legs. This was July 2016.
Having the cyst heal fully took much longer than I expected. I was married April 2017, and found myself trying to figure out a ratio of how often/when/how I could have sex without truly upsetting the cyst (rough sex ALWAYS triggered my cyst.) It had improved, but I still did not feel like my full sexual self. It definitely took a toll on my mental health, worth, and sex life.
The end of July 2017, a little over a full year of first experiencing the abscess, I finally found a solution that has made the cyst go away. My sister-in-law and I had been discussing infections (great conversation, I know) and we both learned that each other experienced routine bladder infections (she also experiences horrible stones.) In the past, I simply drank a lot of water each day, and that kept most UTIs away. Since recently moving abroad however, that strategy was no longer working. She recommended a tea brew that her mother taught her (her mother, my mother-in-law, is an OBGYN...I never asked her about my issue, as 1. I was embarrassed to discuss such a personal issue with a woman I had never met in person. 2. Did not want to discuss my sex life with my husband's mother) Anyway, back to the tea.
The tea is made with three fresh herbs.
-Yarrow (Millefolii herba)
-Stinging Nettle (Urticae folium)
-Marigold (Calendulae flos)
Boil a large pot/kettle of water. Once water is brought to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer.
Place 2 Tablespoons of Yarrow, 1 Tablespoon of Nettle, and 1 Tablespoon of Marigold into the water.
Let herbs steep for at least 15-20 minutes.
Drain tea, and remove herbs.
Drink the entire pot/kettle over the course of a day.
Repeat for a few days in a row, and continue as necessary.
I have left the herbs in the water for longer than 20 minutes plenty of times. This is fine, it will just make the tea taste stronger. A batch of this tea will stay good (effective) for up to two days.
I initially started drinking this tea to help with my UTIs. It did help in this regard, but to my surprise, it completely shrunk my Bartholin Cyst! Ever since this tea, I have been able to resume to a near normal life. I still run warm water over my vagina for 1-2 minutes after sex (just because I think it is important to wash myself after sex, and since I have been in the habit of this ever since the cyst) but I hold the tea responsible for shrinking my inflamed Bartholin duct back to a normal size. These herbs all have strong anti-inflammatory properties individually, but combined they really help specifically for female anatomy. I highly recommend reading about these herbs and learning more.
In addition, I have found (before I discovered the tea) that decreasing inflammatory food (dairy, gluten, sugar) from my diet, incredibly helped my cyst. There were time when I hadn't had sex and weeks, and seemingly out of no where my cyst angrily surfaced. Once I started looking for patterns, I realized quite often the cyst became aggravated from me recently eating a carb heavy, dairy filled, or sugar crazy meal. I also have hypothyroidism, so minimizing any inflammation is necessary for my overall health.
Having an infected cyst in my vagina was one of the worst things to happen to me. It was the worst pain I had ever experienced, and I felt I had no control over my body. I want all women currently experiencing this problem to have hope. I was not even 30, and convinced I would never have pleasurable sex again, and constantly be worrying about aggravating a little demon between my legs. With the help of a compassionate doctor (I only saw her once to receive the prescription for antibiotics, but having her listen to my wishes of no surgery was exactly what I needed), lot of research, talking to friends/family members (my sister in law, mother in law were life savers, and through talking about this issue, I realized two of my cousins have experienced the same thing...genetic?), and paying attention on to my body (what are triggers for the cyst, what activities did I participate in, what clothing/fabric was I wearing, what did I eat) I was able to rid myself of the cyst once and for all. But most importantly, I gave my body a lot of time. It took almost 1.5 years for my cyst to fully completely heal. This seems to be a consistent theme for many Bartholin Cyst sufferers.
So to conclude this very long post (sorry), I would recommend:
1.) seeing a doctor if your cyst hurts, it is mostly likely infected, and you need to get the infection under control before doing anything else (I do not like taking antibiotics, but when you need them, you NEED them) Make sure you explain YOUR desires to your doctor. I was very firm on not wanting to do surgery (personal decision, something internally told me to not do it) and my doctor listened. I was lucky and was able to receive relief from the antibiotics within a day. If that had not been the case, I may have started to be more open to surgery. Every-BODY is different, listen to your's.
2.) HEAT is your friend. I sat on heating pads for months after the cyst. I placed warm cloths with a little Witch Hazel and Tea Tree Oil on them, directly onto my cyst. This really seemed to help the draining process. While doing this for 15-20 minutes at a time (1-2 times a day until the cyst shrunk), I really concentrated on visualizing my cyst drain. I also did daily kegel exercises. With the combination of heat and kegels, you are forcing more blood to the area, and therefore more and faster repair.
3.) Don't be afraid to try having slow gentle sex, but more importantly don't be afraid to say no if you need more time. I found myself very scared of sex; it seemed to trigger my cyst anytime we tried. I honestly felt like a virgin again after the abscess. I was so nervous and my body felt different from how it used to. While some of that fear was valid, I found myself too scared to even try at times. I would recommend trying sex (very gentle, slow sex) when your cyst has subsided, but definitely stop if it is painful. I have never had children, but I imagine bringing sex back into your life after having a baby is similar to this situation. Take it slow, take your time, and listen to your body (not your anxiety). Be clear with your partner that you need support throughout this.
4.) Inflammation is your enemy. Stay away from all inflammatory foods (or at least restrict to only consuming them 1-2 times a week). Take time to relax, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, etc. Minimizing inflammation in its multifaceted areas is key. Drinking "the tea" will help with multiple areas of inflammation, particularly in the feminine area.
5.) STAY POSITIVE. This can get better, and ultimately can make you more aware of your body. Continue trying different methods, continue talking to friends and family, find a doctor that listens (can seem impossible...I know), and take care of YOURSELF.
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